This is how much light your indoor plants need to grow and stay healthy-Orange County Register

2021-12-13 14:09:19 By : Mr. Spencer Tang

"Growing in the Dark: How to Choose and Care for Low-Light Indoor Plants" by Lisa Eldred Steinkopf (published by Cool Springs Press) is a great book for people who are considering growing indoor plants or who are already growing them but have limited results. Facts Above, almost all plants related to our indoor planting can tolerate low light because they come from the ground of the tropical rain forest, where a little bit of light drips from the lush trees overhead.

The advantage of this book is that it clearly explains all aspects of indoor plant cultivation in simple language. The lighting requirements for each plant in question are specifically given: whether it should be placed next to a window facing north, south, east, or west, and how far away from the window where applicable. The only common indoor-grown plants not included in this book are those that get more light in their habitat: cacti and succulents, ficus plants (such as Benjamin Ficus and Ficus lyrata that grow into trees), orchids (living At high altitudes) on the crotch of well-lit branches) and Anthuriums-known for their plastic-textured heart-shaped red buds and yellow heart lilies-share their habitat with orchids.

In fact, there is an orchid among the 50 plants described in the book. However, it does not grow for flowers, but in the words of the author, for "amazing leaves", showing "burgundy colors with iridescent peach stripes". The gem orchid is a terrestrial species, so it does not need the same light as its epiphytic (arboreal), blooming cousin orchid. Nevertheless, if it is brought into "medium light, such as the light from the east window", it will produce tall white flowers. After planting the gem orchid, I can assure you that as long as the soil remains moist, it is one of the easiest indoor plants to maintain. Usually like succulents, it is easy to reproduce from cuttings. You can order jewellery orchids from online suppliers, starting at approximately $15.

Another plant with colorful leaves promoted by the author is the polka dot plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya), which is widely used in the nursery trade. Place it on "the east window or a few feet away from the west window". The spots and spots on the leaves may be pink, red, or white, depending on the variety. It is easily cloned from the stem tip cuttings inserted into the "moist potting mix", which is the author's recommended breeding prescription for many of the plants mentioned in the book.

"Growing in the Dark: How to Choose and Care for Low-Light Indoor Plants", Lisa Eldred Steinkopf (Cool Springs Press)

ZZ factory (Photo: Joshua Siskin)

Rattlesnake calathea (Photo: Joshua Siskin)

Polka dot plants (Photo: Joshua Siskin)

Dottie Calathea (Photo: Joshua Siskin)

Lemon Lime Prayer Plant (Photo: Joshua Siskin)

Lemon Line Dracaena (Photo: Joshua Siskin)

The ribbon shrub (Hypoestes aristata) is a polka dot plant relative and can also be grown indoors, although it drains faster in bright light and in the soil than traditional potting mixes. There is not enough superlative level to describe this plant, it grows to six feet tall. It does not require much water. From autumn to winter, it is covered with purple flower ribbons, reminding you of the curled-end ribbons you see on gift packaging. It is a plant that no garden should have, and it is one of the easiest plants to propagate from cuttings. Ribbon shrubs are native to South Africa, but can be sourced locally from any nursery provided by San Marcos Growers. You can find these nurseries by visiting and clicking on the "retail locator" on the left side of the homepage.

However, when it comes to low-light plants with eye-catching leaves, calatheas and marantas, as plant cousins, belong to their own category. The delicate and symmetrical markings on their leaves are unforgettable. They do crave humidity more than other indoor plants, and will benefit from "putting on a pebble tray, if possible, on a bathroom or kitchen window where the humidity is already slightly higher." Steinkopf emphasized that their leaves are easily burned by dry air or fluoride (found in our water to prevent tooth decay), so rain or distilled water is recommended to meet their moisture needs.

Marantas is called a prayer plant. They "fold up the leaves at night and fold them up quietly in the process." The leaves of legumes such as peas, beans, and clover also exhibit this behavior. The phenomenon that plant organs move in response to the appearance of darkness is called nocturnal disease. The petals of many flowers, especially those of the daisy family, also close at night, and may remain closed on cloudy days. In the case of leaves, they may also fold up during the day, which is usually a sign that the soil needs water for dryness.

Two main hypotheses have been proposed to explain that the leaves of certain plants close at night. The first involves temperature regulation. When the leaves are closed, less surface area of ​​the leaves is exposed and therefore less heat loss on cold nights. The second hypothesis is related to herbivores or insects that eat plants. When the leaves are opened, they provide cover for herbivores that hide or nest on the ground below, and when the leaves are closed, the herbivores are exposed to nocturnal predators (such as bats) and parasitic insects. Therefore, based on these hypotheses, nocturnal leaf closure was developed as a survival mechanism to protect plants from cold damage and consumption by herbivorous pests.

In general, dracaena may be the least thirsty of all indoor plants. I say this only because of the ubiquitous twisted-stem lucky bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana), which is not a real bamboo. It grows in water or soil that is kept evenly moist. Other dracaenas are usually grown indoors as floor plants and may only need water once every few weeks.

In Steinkopf’s words, “water your dracaena until the water comes out of the drain hole, then let the medium dry at least halfway, and then water it”, remember that “dracaena does not like to be placed in a heavy 'Place potting media; they prefer porous media with good drainage.” I have a Janet Craig dracaena in a five-gallon container, and it has been thriving for more than two decades. It was placed near the north-facing window, and although it was placed in an anhydrous state in autumn and winter, it never withered for up to a month or more at a time.

Steinkopf does contain one of the most common gardening myths: the idea that indoor plants can have a significant impact on the air quality in your home. This is based on a NASA study in 1989, when plants were placed in a sealed environment under laboratory conditions-which is very different from the conditions in your home. In the words of Stanley Kays, professor of horticulture, “moving from a sealed container to an open environment will drastically change the dynamics.” Luz Claudio, a professor of environmental medicine, once said: “There is no clear research showing that indoor plants can Significantly improve the air quality in your home and improve your health in a measurable way.” According to Michael Waring, an environmental engineer who studies the subject, you need a tropical indoor plant forest to significantly reduce air quality, such as 10 plants per square foot Or plant 1,000 plants per 100 square feet of indoor space.

This does not mean to reduce the beneficial effects of indoor plants, especially when it comes to our overall emotions, which are not only improved by the presence of plants, but also by watching them grow under our care. The satisfaction generated is improved.

Tip of the week: Steinkopf offers suggestions for increasing or enhancing indoor lighting. "I installed a simple, cheap, 18-inch long fluorescent lamp under the cabinet," she said, "so I can make African violets bloom almost constantly on the countertop next to the coffee machine. There is nothing better than this." , "Some plant lights can be clipped to any shelf, or even to your computer screen, so you can basically grow plants wherever you want." Rotation-ideally rotate a quarter of a week Circle-is repeatedly seen as a means to ensure that plants receive light equally on all four sides, which is absolutely vital to their health. One final tip: "Place a mirror opposite the window of the room. If you can, cover the wall with a cool antique mirror to get plenty of reflected light."

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